Here’s Why You Should Attend Empower U at This Year’s Essence Fest
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Want some tips on how to flirt effectively? Need some cocktail recipes that won’t mess with your waistline? Want to create a budget — and stick to it?

Then head to New Orleans on 4th of July weekend where ESSENCE editors will host workshops on everything — from health and wellness to money and power — as apart of our newest addition to Essence Festival programming, Empower U.

Managing editor Dawnie Walton breaks down this exciting new installment to the Essence Fest schedule.

Empower U is a huge part of the Essence Festival programming this year. Why did the Essence Fest team decide to go with this format this year?

In honor of our 20th anniversary, we wanted to add new dimensions to our Empowerment programming, which is really the heartbeat of the Festival. The concerts, of course, are amazing and exciting — but it’s what happens at the Convention Center every day during that weekend that best exemplifies our mission. Empower U is a new element of that experience and we think it will really resonate with our audience and help them improve their daily lives in simple but meaningful ways. And just like the Empowerment Experience, it’s completely free.

What is the main difference between Empowerment and EmpowerU?

Great question! Whereas the Empowerment stage will host big discussions and keynote addresses before an audience of up to 7500, Empower U is a series of intimate workshops in a classroom-style setting. Workshop leaders will teach attendees, in quick sessions, lessons under five different “tracks” or subject areas: Money & Power, Healthy Living, Love & Relationships, Style & Beauty, and Education & Tech. Also, we’re looking to integrate tech into the classroom in an exciting way — more details on that to come!

What kind of experience do you hope festival goers have at EmpowerU sessions?

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I want them to have fun but also take away quick and simple ways they can improve their day-to-day lives. Things I’d love to overhear in the classroom: “Wow, I never thought of that before,” or “What a great idea!,” or “I’m going to try that when I get home.”

What workshop are you most looking forward to? Which workshop do you think will be the most popular among festival goers?

Wow — I’m excited for so many of them, but two that personally stick out for me: Mixologist Tiffanie Barriere will teach a Healthy Living workshop called “Sophisticated Sips,” about cocktails with less sugar and calories — very relevant for New Orleans! I’m also excited for “Flirting 101,” taught by  Abiola Abrams. And which one will be most popular? I’m guessing it will be Steve Harvey’s “Think Like a Man” workshop — he’s doing an open Q&A session about relationships, and that session will help inform the sequel to his best-selling book.

For more information on ESSENCE Empower U workshops, click here.